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Does Energy Consumption Respond to Price Shocks? Evidence from a Regression-Discontinuity Design

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  • Paulo Bastos

    ()

  • Lucio Castro
  • Julian Cristia

    ()

  • Carlos Scartascini

    ()

Abstract

This paper exploits unique features of a recently introduced tariff schedule for natural gas in Buenos Aires to estimate the short-run impact of price shocks on residential energy utilization. The schedule induces a non-linear and nonmonotonic relationship between households’ accumulated consumption and unit prices, thus generating an exogenous source of variation in perceived prices, which is exploited in a regression-discontinuity design. The estimates reveal that a price increase in the utility bill received by consumers causes a substantial and prompt decline in gas consumption. Hence they suggest that policy interventions via the price mechanism, such as price caps and subsidies, are powerful instruments to influence residential energy utilization patterns, even within a short time span.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department in its series Research Department Publications with number 4702.

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Date of creation: Jan 2011
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Handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:4702

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Keywords: Energy consumption; Elasticity of demand; Regulation of public utilities; Regression discontinuity design; Public policy;

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References

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  1. Imbens, Guido W. & Lemieux, Thomas, 2008. "Regression discontinuity designs: A guide to practice," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 615-635, February.
  2. Peter C. Reiss & Matthew W. White, 2008. "What changes energy consumption? Prices and public pressures," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(3), pages 636-663.
  3. Doug Miller & A. Colin Cameron & Jonah B. Gelbach, 2006. "Bootstrap-Based Improvements for Inference with Clustered Errors," Working Papers 621, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  4. Caves, Douglas W. & Christensen, Laurits R., 1980. "Econometric analysis of residential time-of-use electricity pricing experiments," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 287-306, December.
  5. David S. Lee & Thomas Lemieux, 2009. "Regression Discontinuity Designs In Economics," Working Papers 1118, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  6. Hausmann, J. A. & Kinnucan, M. & McFaddden, D., 1979. "A two-level electricity demand model : Evaluation of the connecticut time-of-day pricing test," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 263-289, August.
  7. Lee, David S. & Card, David, 2008. "Regression discontinuity inference with specification error," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 655-674, February.
  8. Davis, Lucas W. & Muehlegger, Erich, 2010. "Do Americans Consume Too Little Natural Gas? An Empirical Test Of Marginal Cost Pricing," Working paper 579, Regulation2point0.
  9. Michael Parti & Cynthia Parti, 1980. "The Total and Appliance-Specific Conditional Demand for Electricity in the Household Sector," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 11(1), pages 309-321, Spring.
  10. Liu, Lon-Mu & Lin, Maw-Wen, 1991. "Forecasting residential consumption of natural gas using monthly and quarterly time series," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 3-16, May.
  11. Bushnell, James & Mansur, Erin T., 2005. "Consumption Under Noisy Price Signals: A Study of Electricity Retail Rate Deregulation in San Diego," Staff General Research Papers 13142, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  12. Krichene, Noureddine, 2002. "World crude oil and natural gas: a demand and supply model," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(6), pages 557-576, November.
  13. Shin, Jeong-Shik, 1985. "Perception of Price When Price Information Is Costly: Evidence from Residential Electricity Demand," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(4), pages 591-98, November.
  14. Peter C. Reiss & Matthew W. White, 2005. "Household Electricity Demand, Revisited," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(3), pages 853-883.
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Cited by:
  1. Gerard, Francois, 2013. "What Changes Energy Consumption, and for How Long? New Evidence from the 2001 Brazilian Electricity Crisis," Discussion Papers dp-13-06, Resources For the Future.
  2. W. D. Gregori, 2014. "Fiscal Rules and Public Spending: Evidence from Italian Municipalities," Working Papers wp923, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.

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